Getting into the community of watch-collecting can be overwhelming. There’s so much to learn, so many details to absorb, and unfortunately a lot of misinformation floating around out there. Between deep-diving into comparing movements, and learning the difference between a simple and annual calendar, it can be hard to know where to start.
Most importantly, it’s not easy finding the right watch for yourself, but it might be easier weeding out what you definitely do not want. We consulted with the pre-owned watch specialists Watchfinder & Co. to tell you about five kinds of watches you should most certainly avoid.
Say you’re ready to treat yourself to your favourite Breitling Navitimer. Perhaps it’s hard to get hold of, so you look a little further afield, to somewhere you’ve not really heard of before, that doesn’t have any reviews—and it’s there. The pictures are a little blurry, there’s no phone number, yet you can feel your finger inching towards your credit card. That’s why this is the first watch you should avoid: the one from a non-reputable source.
Have patience, wait a while, and hold out for the best example from a trustworthy source, because while the worst you can expect would be to lose all of your money completely, the best you can expect from shopping at a questionable outlet will be to always wonder whether or not the watch you bought is really everything it was supposed to be. Is that really the best-case scenario you want for yourself?
Try as the manufacturers might to convince you otherwise, a premium watch is not a practical asset. It tells the time, sure, and that’s a useful thing, but that sits secondary to the ownership experience and the enjoyment of wearing a hand-made timepiece. So it stands to reason that buying said watch is as much a purchase with the heart as it is with the head.
This is the next watch you should avoid: the one that’s just an investment. Buy a watch you want, one you’ve been looking forward to getting, one you’d be happy to wear day in, day out, because if you don’t you’ll only end up moving it on and replacing it with something you actually want.
There was a time when a Ferrari 360 Modena could be purchased for around £30,000—the price of your average family car with a few bits like air conditioning and parking sensors thrown in. A pre-owned Breguet, for example, is equally tempting. But here’s the folly: the Ferrari may only have cost the same as a family car to buy, but it certainly won’t cost the same as a family car to run. It’ll cost a lot more.
The third kind of watch you should avoid is one you haven’t considered servicing costs for. High-end watches can have service intervals as frequent as every two years, with associated costs of over £500, depending on the complication. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a bill that costs almost as much as the watch itself.
Say you’ve got your eye on an Omega Planet Ocean. You love the way it looks, really like the in-house movement, and you’re confirming your thoughts by dipping your toe into the comments on one of the many popular watch forums. And there he is, that one guy on the forum who thinks it’s rubbish, who thinks you should get a Rolex or a TAG Heuer instead.
Somehow his passion is so compelling that you start to doubt all the confidence you had only moments before, and you feel yourself being swayed towards a watch that you don’t actually want. It’s important to remember that other people’s opinions are just that: opinions. You and only you know what will make you happy.
There’s that impatience again, only this time it’s whispering something about a watch you can’t quite afford yet. You’ve been saving for a while, you’re almost there, but not quite just yet. The little voice says to you snidely, “You could have a cheaper watch right now instead.”
This right here is probably the hardest of all the watches to avoid, the one you could have now over The One you really want but still need to save for. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the desire for the watch you could have now is fleeting, a short candle that will have long burned out before you even get back home. It’s a guaranteed path to regret.
Now that you know what to avoid, it’s time to think about what to get. With over 5,000 watches in stock from over 70 brands such as Rolex, Breitling and Cartier, a fully accredited service centre, and a 12-month Watchfinder warranty on every purchase, Watchfinder is the number one place to buy, sell, and exchange pre-owned watches. Visit Watchfinder online or make an appointment at their Tsim Sha Tsui showroom.